Cocoa to Vero Beach

Our visit to Cocoa has become an annual event, the anchorage is roomy with good holding, easy dinghy access, although the majority of the boats in the anchorage are liveaboards with nearly half of those derelict, or nearly so. There were two partially sunken vessels and two lying on the shore by the mangroves. Florida has a serious problem with derelict and near-derelict vessels that are inhabited by squatters or homeless. They’re a blight on the landscape, and no waterfront community seems to be immune from the problem.  Still, overlooking the blight of the derelicts, it’s a delightful small community. There are numerous small shops and restaurants, and the waterfront park is beautiful and well-maintained. Our arrival coincided with an event scheduled for the evening we arrived. On our initial visit ashore we discovered temporary fencing blocking access to the park, and we learned that there was to be a concert by SOJA, a popular band from the DC area. We’d never heard of them, but we’re told by those who have that they’re very good and well-known in the genre they perform. They were loud enough, but some of the music was interesting, not ear-splitting. The performance went until only 10PM, it didn’t appear from our vantage point that the crowd was overflowing. There were perhaps a dozen boats that anchored off the park for some free seats.

We stayed two days, did some shop browsing, got some pastries from Oleander, and enjoyed some walks in the town, then headed for Vero Beach.

The cruise to Vero is an easy day cruise, we had winds of 20kt, but on the ICW, not really an issue. We arrived in the afternoon, and rafted up to Moriah, and were happy to see friends Ray & Peggy whom we had left last year about this time. Friends from our “home” marina at Stansbury Yacht Basin, Ray completed the woodworking on Maerin’s helm refit as well as a wonderful custom storage conversion for the bathtub in our master head. They cruised south in the fall of 2014. We caught up with them in Cocoa, cajoled them into cruising along with us to Vero.  They were sufficiently enamored with “Velcro Beach” last year to stay, actually on the same mooring we had last year! Now a permanent Florida resident, Ray is doing wood sculpture in a studio in Vero Beach. We attended Ray’s gallery opening; he’s one of several artists featured in a local gallery in Jupiter, displaying his unique sculptures. He was recently featured in a local Vero Beach news article, and plans to continue his sculpting endeavors in Vero.

We’ll stay here for a week or so, taking the opportunity to visit with Ray & Peg, and also catch up with friends Garland and Jean, former Selene owners who winter here in Vero, this winter without their boat. They sold their Selene and now have a new boat, but because of their travel plans, it’s wintering in Virginia this season.

We also met with other cruisers whose acquaintance, as with many folks we meet, began through participation in the “Trawlers and Trawlering” discussion list, where Steve has been an active participant since purchasing Maerin in 2006. The list provides a wealth of information via its broad base of members, each providing a varied level of expert advice, expert and sometimes not so expert opinion on all things related to the trawler lifestyle. It’s always a pleasure to actually meet the folks who go with the names on the list!

No visit to Vero would be complete without several, if not daily visits to the dog park, just a short walk from the marina. We usually hop in the dinghy in the afternoon and take Molly for a visit. She loves to socialize, and there’s no shortage of opportunity at the park, with usually 20-40 dogs visiting late in the afternoon when their people return from work.

We hosted cruising friends Monday evening for a traditional PA dutch meal of boiled chicken pot-pie. For those who envision a baked pie filled with chicken and veggies, this isn’t that. This is the traditional PA dutch version, that starts with chicken and broth to which is added potatoes, onion, and hand-made noodles. The result can be likened to chicken and dumplings for those who don’t know, but it’s a unique dish. It’s a family recipe my Mom and Grandmother made. We thought it would be a unique dish to serve to cruising guests, so we practiced making it as a team effort, and enlisted my sister as tutor. We’ve mastered the dish, and last night’s presentation was a success, complete with peanut butter bread as an accompaniment, as was my Dad’s tradition. Yummy!

Tuesday we’ll be joined by friends from our “home” marina for a visit during their stay in Florida, for a mini-reunion, and we’ll probably head south on Wed. the 20th. We’re hoping for a break in the weather, which has gone from delightfully warm, to rainy, now to cold and windy. Well, 55 is cold from our perspective. Apologies to our readers who are experiencing actual cold weather.


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